Written By: John Dye
Column: Reflection of the Month
Issue: Set to Appear in the September Issue of the Newsletter
Each year, Orthodox Christians around the world celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration. While it may not be considered as great as Pascha or the Nativity, it still holds its place as one of the twelve Great Feasts. A summary of the events that took place can be found in the Gospel of Mark. The Apostle writes, “After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.”(Mark 9:2 – 4) As those marvelous events transpire, St. Peter, filled with enthusiasm, impulsively tells Christ that “It is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (Mark 9:5) While the details of this are quite mysterious, the story is set before us.
Now that we have covered the basic happenings of the Transfiguration, let us dive deeper. On the Sunday of this feast, the priest at my local parish suggested an idea during his homily that I had never heard before. He explained that while most people think that Christ transfigured himself before Moses, Elijah, and the disciples at one point in time, what occurred may be far more miraculous. He told us that God is not bound by space and time, so when he appeared to Moses in Exodus and Elijah in 1st Kings, he was revealing himself to Moses, Elijah, and the disciples both at different points in linear time and at the same point beyond time. Furthermore, it is speculated that all three events, or rather, this one event, took place on the same mountain.
As all of that sinks in, one may ask, “how can this apply to me today?” A valid question, as it seems an impossible task to relate to the creator of the universe. To ease the process, we can draw a few parallels between the Transfiguration and our busy, modern, lives. The foremost example is Christ himself. Christ let his light shine to the apostles and prophets. He did not conceal anything from them, but rather displayed his divinity for everyone present. We humans can not even come close to replicating the glory of the Trinity, but we can represent them in our actions. We must take up our cross and be unashamed of our Christianity. Christ even tells us this directly when he says, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26) and again, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
In conclusion, as the semester approaches, and the business of school resumes itself, always remember to embrace your faith, never doubting in our Lord, and never hesitating to defend Him.